8 Sunflower Eating Animals: What Creatures Like to Munch on these Flowers?

Sunflower Eating Animals

Do you know what animals like to eat sunflowers? Many people think that only birds like to eat the seeds of sunflowers, but there are actually a variety of creatures that enjoy them. In this blog post, we will take a look at some of the animals that love to snack on sunflowers!

What animals eat sunflowers? There are many animals that eat sunflowers and sunflower seeds. They include chipmunks, voles, rats, deer, mice, squirrels, insects, and birds.

Sunflower plants are beautiful. They look stunning wherever they are grown. They are best known for their striking yellow flowers. In addition to looking stunning, sunflower plants produce tasty and easy-to-eat seeds.

Virtually everyone who has tried eating sunflower seeds loves them. Animals also love them. Animals love sunflower seeds and other parts of the sunflower plant. This is because virtually every part of the sunflower plant is very edible.

In this post, we will look at the animals that eat sunflowers and how to eliminate them.

Animals that eat sunflowers

The sunflower plant produces seeds that are a loved and valuable source of food for different animals. The seeds contain a great amount of fat that animals require to survive the cold winter. That said, let’s take a look at some of the animals that enjoy eating this garden plant.

1.    Squirrels

Squirrels are huge fans of sunflower seeds. If you have ever had to work out how to keep these animals away from your bird feeder then this is quite obvious. Given that sunflower seeds are often found in bird feed, you’ll often have squirrels hanging around.

Protecting sunflowers is a bit challenging as these animals are quite dexterous, but there are still some good ways of deterring them. The best way to keep these annoying animals away from your gorgeous sunflowers is through the use of squirrel netting, also commonly known as bird netting. Simply drape the netting over sunflower plants to keep away squirrels.

You can as well use some sort of aluminum screening carefully bent over the top of the sunflower plants to prevent squirrels and other animals from eating the blooms.

2.    Chipmunks

Do not be shocked to see chipmunks running around your garden as they another animal that enjoy eating sunflower seeds. Unlike squirrels that hibernate during the cold winter months, chipmunks collect more than they actually need during fall and summer and store them in holes. Chipmunks climb up the plant to the sunflower heads to collect the seeds.

And just like squirrels, keeping chipmunks away from your sunflowers is quite challenging. Bear in mind that chipmunks benefit a lot from sunflower seeds as they provide them with lots of healthy fats.

To keep away these creatures, simply use bird netting. The netting gently lays on top of the sunflowers making it difficult for squirrels and other rodents to get to the seeds or other parts of the plant that they want to consume.

3.    Birds

Birds are at the top of the list when it comes to animals that feed on sunflowers. Most birds will wait for the sunflowers to be dried and almost ready for picking before disturbing them. Songbirds like cardinals and sparrows enjoy feasting on sunflower seeds. Other birds that love eating sunflower seeds include juncos, starlings, nuthatches, chickadees, blue jays, and mourning doves among others.

If you are growing sunflowers to harvest the seeds and eat them yourself, you’ll definitely not love the sight of birds ravaging your flowers. Luckily, there are a few ways and techniques that you can apply to keep pesky birds away from your plant.

One of the most effective ways of locking birds out of your garden is through the use of bird or garden netting. This may not be the best option for some individuals as sunflowers are beautiful to look at, but that may be compromised you’ll have to make.

Another option is scarecrows or fake owls in your garden. A lot of birds will avoid anywhere that a hawk is in plain sight as they fear being attacked. It is, nonetheless, really important to note that birds are very smart animals and so you will have to regularly move your scarecrow or fake owl around the garden so that the birds do not get used to it.

4.    Deer

Deer love eating sunflowers. Sunflowers area great food source for them as they are rich in nutrients like fat and protein. Apart from seeds, deer also feed on sunflower leaves. In general, deer eat nearly all kinds of flowers, and the sunflower is one of their favorite.

So, how can you prevent deer from eating your sunflower plants? There are a number of things that you can do to stop these animals from eating your sunflower. One of the options is to use a sprinkler. Motion-activated sprinklers will do a good job at keeping these animals away.

You can also fence your garden to keep out deer. Growing sunflowers in a garden that’s surrounded by a fence that is at least 8 feet tall is the only sure way of keeping deer away. Using a 4 foot is complete waste of resources as deer can easily jump over such fencing.

The use of smell and scents is another great alternative. Irish spring soap can be used for this purpose. Other than that, chili pepper spray can also be used. The deer will certainly move to another source of food once they get a small bit of the pepper into their mouths.

5.    Garden mice and voles

Other culprits of consuming sunflower seeds in the garden are voles and garden mice. In addition to climbing the plant, these pests will also dig out newly planted seeds from the ground below. That said, if you are not sighting any sunflower seedlings sprout out from the ground a couple of weeks after planting, then know that you may have been robbed off your seeds.

The simplest way to keep mice away from your sunflower garden is to get yourself a cat. If this particular option is not feasible, you can as well use small barricades such as a sturdy fence to keep mice away. Companion planting is also another effective way of keeping uninvited animals away. Because mice that the smell of onions or garlic, you could grow your sunflowers close to them.

Furthermore, scarecrows can also be used to scare away garden rats, mice, and voles. These animals will avoid visiting spots with lurking predators.

6.    Rabbits

Apart from tomatoes and carrots, rabbits also eat sunflowers, particularly the seeds and stalks. Unable to directly reach the seeds, rabbit eat those seeds that have been dropped by birds of fallen from the plant itself.

One way of preventing rabbits from eating the sunflowers in your garden is by planting their favorites elsewhere. Keep in mind that rabbits only consume garden plants when they cannot get enough clover near their nest.

Motion-activated sprinklers will also keep rabbits away. This is, in fact, one of the easiest and most effective ways of keeping all sorts of animals away from your garden. For maximum effectiveness, the sprinklers should be set up facing the direction of those plants that you wish to protect. Any sort of motion will trigger the sprinklers to spray water at a relatively high pressure. Just don’t forget to turn it off before heading to your garden in the morning.

7.    Insects

Sunflowers lure bees together with other helpful insects to your garden, but also invite the not-so-useful insects too. One of the uninvited insects is the spittlebug whose nymph leaves behind a weird frothy substance that somewhat resembles human spit. Other sunflower insects include beetles, aphids, cutworms, and seed weevils.

As stated earlier, there are some insects that are beneficial to sunflowers. There are, however, those that are detrimental to the plant. How can the harmful insects be kept away? One great way involves the use of neem oil, which is really effective in keeping away mites, aphids, and spittlebugs.

8.    Raccoons

Even though raccoons will not be the first animals to show up at your sunflower garden, there will definitely visit your garden at one point or the other. When hungry, raccoons not only feed on sunflower seeds but also nuts together with other plants in your beautiful garden.

There are a few effective methods that can be utilized to keep away raccoons from your garden. Laser red eyes, motion-activated sprinklers, and wind chimes will get the job done very well. Motion-activated sprinklers are in particular the best choice. This is because raccoons get frightened by sudden movements and loud noises.

Concluding remarks

Sunflower seeds are edible and tasty. They are loved by wild animals. Other sunflower parts such as leaves and stalks are also edible. They are also loved by wild animals. So when you grow sunflowers in your garden, you should expect wild visitors. The good news is that all these visitors can be repelled. In other words, there are ways you can protect your sunflowers from the animals that frequently eat them.